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Mbappé, Neymar, Buffon... Tuchel's PSG to-do list

Neymar, Mbappe and how to help Kimpembe: Tuchel's Paris Saint-Germain to-do list

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Thomas Tuchel's first campaign at Paris Saint-Germain has come to an underwhelming end and he has much to work on ahead of next season.

Thomas Tuchel's new contract does not hide the fact his maiden Paris Saint-Germain campaign went worryingly flat after a promising start.

A 3-1 defeat at Reims on Friday capped off a disappointing end to the season, with PSG winning just four of their last 10 fixtures.

They had the title secured on April 22, with a blistering start to the term having seen them win a record 14 Ligue 1 games in a row from the start of a campaign.

A shock Coupe de la Ligue defeat to Guingamp ended PSG's hopes of domestic dominance, though, before they slumped out of the Champions League in the round of 16, losing to Manchester United on home soil.

And, having extended his stay at the Parc des Princes until 2021, Tuchel now has plenty to work on heading into his second season.

 

ADD DEPTH TO AN IMBALANCED SQUAD

PSG have plenty of attacking talents but when it comes to other areas of the pitch they are not so well stocked.

Tuchel wanted Everton's holding midfielder Idrissa Gueye in January, though the Premier League club refused to sell. Leandro Paredes did come in but has at times looked out of step with his team-mates and made a calamitous error to gift Montpellier a victory in April. Dani Alves has far too often been called upon to fill in centrally.

With Adrien Rabiot - who has refused the offer of a new contract - oh his way out and Marco Verratti not unaccustomed to injury, though he has made 26 Ligue 1 appearances this term, midfield is certainly an area that needs addressing. In defence, Tuchel has publicly suggested he can only rely on Marquinhos and 34-year-old Thiago Silva to keep things steady at the back.

KEEP NEYMAR FIT AND HAPPY

PSG paid a world-record fee for Neymar in order to propel themselves to Champions League glory. So far, it has not worked.

In both of his seasons at the club, Neymar, who is off track in his Ballon d'Or aims, has sustained injuries that have seen him miss either all or part of PSG's last-16 ties with Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively, and as such it is no surprise that they have failed to progress past this stage.

Their play is rightly directed through the Brazil superstar, but perhaps Tuchel must now look at having a viable alternative so, if needed, he can protect his star man in certain games to ensure he is in good shape for the big occasions and, along with PSG's other key players, able to play across an entire season, while also ensuring that Neymar remains at Parc des Princes amid rumours of interest from Madrid.

KYLIAN IS THE KEY

Another PSG star reportedly interesting Los Blancos is Kylian Mbappe, the World-Cup winning striker who scored 33 league goals this season. At 20, the former Monaco forward undoubtedly has the world at his feet, though hinted recently that he may have to take up a new challenge away from PSG.

The club swiftly insisted there is no chance of a sale and Tuchel should look to build his team around the youngster. His disciplinary issues - a red card in the Coupe de France final saw Mbappe suspended for three matches and was his second such offence of the season - need tempering but he should remain a focal point.

HELP KIMPEMBE RETURN TO FORM

Tuchel was not renowned for his defensive resilience while head coach at Borussia Dortmund but inherited one of the most promising defenders in European football when he took over at PSG in the form of Presnel Kimpembe.

The 23-year-old featured once for France at the 2018 World Cup but has struggled to kick on this campaign, and his season finished with him undergoing surgery to fix a groin problem.

Tuchel has suggested that Kimpembe has played too many games - he made 36 appearances across all competitions - but his suggestion that he could only rely on Marquinhos and Silva was not exactly an endorsement of Kimpembe, who seems to have hit a wall.

SETTLE ON A GOALKEEPER

Tuchel has switched far too much between Alphonse Areola and Gianluigi Buffon, with 21 and 17 appearances each in the league.

At 41, it is probably time Buffon acted only as back up - if he is to remain at the club - with his poor performance against Reims on Friday suggesting his best days are behind him.

Areola, who along with Kimpembe was allegedly accused by Neymar of disrespecting the head coach, is also prone to an error, while Kevin Trapp is due to return from his loan at Eintracht Frankfurt. Tuchel has to decide which of the three is to be his first choice, or whether he needs to dip into the transfer market for another number one.